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Posts Tagged ‘Trust Inc. Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset’

Sep
18

Photo courtesy of www.dondalrymple.com

According to a July 2017 World Economic Forum article about regaining trust in business….

Business is on the brink of distrust.

It is clear that the expectations of business are changing as rapidly as the world around us. Corporations must find a way to lead.

A contemporary CEO cannot afford to ignore this sentiment. The epoch of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a cost of doing business has passed; the era of “doing well by doing good” is upon us. Balancing the profit motive with the creation of societal value is about to become a precondition for the long-term success of any corporation, sector, scale or geographic reach notwithstanding.”

(Note: Trust Across America, through it’s FACTS Framework, developed the scorecard in 2009 and has been tracking and ranking the trustworthiness of the largest 2000 US based public companies since that time.)

So what is the path forward for leaders to regain trust in business? After all, the business case for trust has been proven time and again. Perhaps it boils down to the simple question of who owns trust.

The current SOP in most companies, is to take trust for granted until there is an “issue” and then trust is “delegated” to the “right” silo depending on the nature of the problem:

  • If there is a corporate crisis, the communications and legal team are there to talk about restoring trust after conferring with their PR firm.
  • If it’s a matter of “ethics,” the Chief Compliance Officer steps in.
  • Market share declining? The CMO steps up to tout brand “trust” in its campaign.
  • High employee turnover got you down? Head to HR. After all, they must not have hired “right.” Fire the whole darn department and replace the staff with interview robots. (I kid you not)
  • Unhappy shareholders? Punt to Investor Relations.
  • Giving a speech about building trust in the community? The corporate responsibility and sustainability silos are right on it, once legal signs off.

Got the picture?

Unfortunately, in most companies, no single person or department owns trust and that’s why business is on the brink of distrust. It’s that simple. Imagine running a company without a Chief Financial Officer. How would the job get done? Trust can no longer afford to be treated like a hot potato.

Who should own trust?

No doubt, it’s the CEO. Trust starts at the top, as a directive from the Board, with leadership acknowledgement of its strategic importance. Once that occurs, the day-to- day practice could be delegated to a Chief Trust Officer, who reports directly to the CEO. Imagine the first company bold enough to do this. Did I just say bold? I meant smart and proactive. 

What would the job entail?

  • Review and refine the credo, vision and values, with buy-in from every C-Suite member (and the Board.)
  • Regularly communicate vision and values to all stakeholders and ensure everyone abides by them.
  • Work closely with HR so hiring (and firing) is done according to the standards set forth above.
  • Get trust on the daily docket.  This is an example of how one company does this, and a bit more about driving culture.
  • Enforce a “zero” tolerance policy for trust breaches. Nobody is immune, especially the CEO.

What would the job requirements be?

Someone who lives the holistic concept of doing well by doing good, is a stellar communicator, and has the right combination of personal qualities to rally the troops. Impeccable character, courage, competence and consistency are key. In fact, not all that different from the qualities of a great CEO.

An organization’s chances at long-term success are predicated on the level of trust it builds with all its stakeholders. I can’t think of a more important and timely job title than Chief Trust Officer. Can you?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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Sep
12

Photo courtesy of trepscore.com

Are the following low trust warning signs present in your company?

  • The Board emphasizes short-term financial results over long-term value creation.
  • CEO values are unknown or unclear and never communicated.
  • The C-Suite operates in individual silos.
  • Management ignores trust as a proactive business strategy or a competitive advantage.
  • The largest departments are legal and compliance with hyper focus on risk.
  • HR is lacking a “values driven” hiring framework hindering the construction of a talented and engaged team.
  • Transparency has taken a back seat to secrecy and closed doors, and employees are always the last to “find out.”
  • Layers of bureaucracy and “rules” slow every decision to a crawl.
  • Failure is punished so passion and innovation are low or nonexistent.
  • Stakeholder activism is increasing.

What other low trust warning signs would you add?

Trust Across America has been researching and measuring the trustworthiness of the 1500 largest US public companies for almost eight years via it’s FACTS® Framework. This, by order of magnitude, is the most comprehensive and fact-based ongoing study on this subject. We analyze quarterly and rank order by company, sector and market capitalization. We are particularly interested in tracking individual companies and sector trends over time.

 

While Trust Across America continues to make the business case for trust, it remains quite common for warning signs to be overlooked or completely ignored.  Address the “trust” danger signs before distrust becomes the norm, or the next crisis comes knocking at the CEOs front door.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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Sep
02

Photo courtesy of psychologicalscience.org

How frayed is trust in your organization? As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to repair it before the rope snaps and a crisis occurs.

Five Trust-Building Resources for Business Leaders

  1. Read a book on building trust
  2. Purchase a DIY kit called Trust in a Box
  3. Receive cutting edge advice by joining our Alliance
  4. Read our White Paper: The State of Trust in Corporate America
  5. Hold a workshop

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Aug
12

A customer service representative at a major health insurance company recently told me that HIPAA prevented him from disclosing whether an application submitted for one of my children had been received by the company. I sensed he had misinterpreted HIPAA whose purpose is to safeguard medical information, but as he insisted, he was just “following the rules.” I thanked him for his time, hung up, and called back to the same department. The second customer service rep gave me the information I needed without hesitation.

Whether an employee or a customer, I’ll bet you’ve heard these statements (excuses) or used them yourself more than once.

  • I need to get approval to do (or say) that.
  • I need to clear this through compliance.
  • I need permission before you can quote me.
  • I can’t help you without approval.
  • I’m just following the rules.
  • I apologize for your frustration.

Perhaps it’s time for business leaders to take a few minutes to understand the relationship between trust and approval.

Merriam-Webster provides the following definitions of approval:

Definition #1: The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

Definition #2:  Permission to do something: acceptance of an idea, action, plan, etc.

Focusing now on Definition #2, how many employees are constrained by “permission” in your organization? Have you considered how this impacts:

  • Speed of innovation
  • Decision-making
  • Employee engagement
  • Cost

Every time an employee needs approval to say or do something, the “approval” process impedes the outcome. In fact, the process may be so daunting, that employees choose to take the “easy” road, never creating anything new or suggesting a novel idea;  or as in the story above, checking with someone else when they clearly do not understand the company’s daunting “rules.”

As a business leader, have you considered how your customers are impacted by the “approval process” in your organization, or how the company’s actions:

  • Waste customer AND employee time
  • Create hard feelings
  • Lower customer retention
  • Damage reputation and elevate risk
  • Raise costs

As a business leader, what if your focus shifted from “approval” or rule enforcement to elevating stakeholder trust?

The most progressive and successful CEOs and their Boards have redirected their attention to crafting long-term vision and values statements and/or Codes of Conduct, not driven by legal and compliance, but by their two most important stakeholders, their employees and their customers. (The “credo” etched into the wall at corporate headquarters does not even begin to satisfy this requirement.) The entire staff, beginning with the Board and CEO, must vow to live their values every day, and ensure that employees understand that any “values violation” will result in immediate termination. Just imagine the innovation, speed of decision-making and empowerment that would result from this cultural transformation, not to mention the ultimate cost savings and impact on profitability.

During the editing process of our book Trust Inc. I reviewed the websites of many large public companies with the goal of including an Appendix brimming over with examples of well-crafted vision statements. This became a difficult and disappointing task as the handful identified could not be included in the book without “approval” from the respective company’s legal department, which would have meant a lengthy delay of the book’s publication. Instead, I created a “work around” by eliminating the company name. What a lost opportunity for all!

If organizations spent more time building values instead of layers of legal teams and compliance departments, the word “approval” would start to look more like Merriam-Webster’s first definition:

The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

And “approval” would be replaced with trust.

The most progressive business leaders have joined our Trust Alliance to ensure that they never miss an opportunity to learn about elevating organizational trust.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Aug
07

Courtesy of mystorybook.com

Far away and just as long ago, in the land of gardens and strip malls, also known as New Jersey, a somewhat smallish “Jersey Girl” named Barbara (Barb to her high school friends) had a rather tall vision to change the world, or at least the conversation.  Barb believed that if she could get people thinking about trust, particularly in business, trust would spring eternal- similar to Jersey blueberries- and take off like a Jersey driver.

And so Barb began to knock softly on the doors of corporate America to politely inquire about trustworthy leaders and their business practices. The responses were far from what she expected to hear.

  • We are big business and don’t budget for soft stuff like trust since it doesn’t impact our bottom line.
  • The corporate credo written on the lobby wall has trust covered.
  • We are already trustworthy. After all, our quarterly earnings are growing and look how fast we are expanding globally.
  • We give to charities and have an annual CSR event.
  • Haven’t you seen our latest TV commercial on diversity?
  • We’re conserving water and energy.
  • We are looking in to cybersecurity.
  • Our compliance department “has trust covered.” We stay just on the “right side” of the law.
  • Who cares if our employees are unhappy? There are plenty to replace them.
  • And the best one, the response from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company… “Trust? Interesting, I never even thought about that word!”

Barb’s quick takeaway…the trust crisis is not the “problem” of big business (until there’s an internal crisis and then lots of money is paid to consultants to make it look like the problem is fixed when it’s not), and one person named Barb from NJ is no threat to big business! Go knock somewhere else until such time as trust is regulated.

And that’s exactly what she did, because Barb had changed her middle name from Jane to “Tenacity” right around her fifth annual 39th birthday. She knocked and knocked and did not give up until the right people started to listen, and even lend a hand. And then the idea struck (sort of like a lightening bolt) – if one rather small woman from NJ could get some “trust loving”, imagine how much 100 men and women, or 1000, or even a million could attract? And so she started a movement, A Campaign for Trust, and she invited everyone who didn’t slam the door to join her (except the mainstream media because they seemed perpetually stuck on bad news that sells)!

In a few months, eyebrows began to raise beyond Jersey’s borders, as did the roster of global Trust Alliance members, men and women from “big business” (the ones who didn’t slam the trust door), small business, startups academia, researchers, community leaders, government and consulting (leadership, culture, teamwork, compliance, ethics, CSR, HR, sales, reputation and crisis repair, communications, risk, data security, governance, sustainability.) They weren’t exactly sure what “signing up” meant, but they trusted Barb enough to know they wanted to be part of this particular movement, because without trust, organizations are at best mediocre, never knowing when the next crisis will strike.

The Trust Alliance has been quite busy over the past four+ years with dozens of projects including:

  1. Roundtable discussions with industry leaders on building trust
  2. Publication of three books in our Trust Inc. series
  3. Introductions between members resulting in speaking engagements, consulting opportunities and new business relationships
  4. An annual trust poster
  5. Publication of a collaborative digital magazine called TRUST!
  6. Assembly of DIY Trust Boxes
  7. Real world case studies called Trustlets

And many more initiatives including two new programs launching this fall. After all, it’s hard to imagine why any organization (even one run by a small, perpetually 39 year old woman from NJ) wouldn’t want to join us and collaboratively help in elevating organizational trust. So what’s holding you back? Feel free to use one of the excuses listed above!

(And by the way, on most days Trust Across America’s website attracts between 500-1000 enlightened visitors who “get” the importance of organizational trust.)

PS- One of Barb’s offspring cautions about trying to be funny about trust. It’s a serious subject. Barb disagrees. She thinks trust can be funny and fun, and serious too! What do you think?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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Aug
04

Courtesy of mmo-champion.com

Which of these companies do you think has the higher integrity culture, Coca Cola or PepsiCo?

Let’s start by defining what we mean by a high integrity culture. A high integrity culture is…

  • NOT the credo written on the wall in the corporate headquarters
  • NOT a CSR program or how philanthropic a corporation chooses to be
  • NOT solely what employees think of their organization

A high integrity culture…

Has a high integrity VISION that defines its purpose, and that vision is practiced and reinforced daily.

Has high integrity VALUES that serve not only as a guideline but as a PRACTICE for all employees. HR supports these values at all times by hiring PEOPLE who share the corporate values. In fact all silos play a role in maintaining the high integrity values.

Starbucks offers an excellent example of high integrity values:

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
  • We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

Has high integrity LEADERSHIP who understands and meets the NEEDS of all its stakeholders, not just shareholders through its consistent practice and reinforcement of its high integrity vision and values.

So who has the higher integrity culture Coca Cola or PepsiCo?

Trust Across America has been measuring the corporate culture of public companies for over seven years through its FACTS Framework. Unlike other culture surveys that rely heavily on employee input, FACTS (an acronym) measures the quantitative indicators or dimensions of high integrity- Financial stability, Accounting conservativeness, Corporate governance, Transparency and Sustainability. And in our analysis Pepsi wins. Out of the five indicators, PepsiCo scores significantly higher in three.

While relying on employee surveys alone may be helpful in measuring culture, surveys don’t tell the full story and can be easily gamed. In fact, in the case of Coke and Pepsi, their Glassdoor reviews, for example, are almost identical.

Why should a high integrity culture matter?

In our ongoing research at Trust Across America, all signs point to high integrity cultures being more profitable. To all those companies whose leaders think culture is soft, intangible, immeasurable and/or doesn’t matter, you are ignoring the FACTS at your own risk. And perhaps that’s why Pepsi scores higher than Coke. It may boil down to Indra Nooyi’s leadership priorities.

You can read more about our Corporate Integrity Monitor findings at this link.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Apr
12

 

Trust Across America’s focus has always been on finding and highlighting the “best in breed” corporate citizens while leaving the worst for the scrutiny of others. But today is only Wednesday and my inbox is swamped with so many trust busting stories that even Lucy’s head is spinning. Here we go:

Wells Fargo is clawing back compensation to rebuild trust, or are they?

Volkswagen has found the “secret” to  rebuilding trust…. are they kidding?

Barclay’s CEO has his own strategy for trust, but it’s certainly not the “building” kind. This is the same CEO who not so long ago said “I do believe that trust is returning to our institution. But we will never rest, we are never done. We have to focus on building that trust every day.”

A  bunch of “fake activist” companies, outraged over the purported trust violations of Bill O’Reilly, pull their advertising, or do they? Thanks Jim!

And let’s not forget United, except this isn’t about customer brutality, and maybe not even about trust! It’s just ironic.

This week, instead of watching sitcoms, I’ve taken to reading the news. As an organizational trust researcher and communicator, I’m finding it not only highly educational but also wildly entertaining.

As I’ve said for many years, the ongoing trust crisis will certainly not abate until untrustworthy leaders sail off into the sunset or recognize the error of their ways and start advocating for change.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
22

 

If you lead an organization and want to build trust into its DNA, it all begins (and ends) with you. How many of these boxes can you check?

Start with an assessment of yourself:

  • Are you trustworthy?
  • Do you possess integrity, character and values?
  • Do you share those values with your family?
  • Do you instill them in your children?
  • Do you take your personal values to work?

Perform an organizational trust audit:

Consider your internal stakeholders:

Consider your external stakeholders:

  • Have you shared your vision and values in building a trustworthy organization?
  • Have you identified the outcome(s) you are seeking?
  • Have you defined your intentions for each of our stakeholder groups?
  • Have you made promises that you will keep?
  • Have you determined the steps you will take to fulfill these promises?

Almost every organizational challenge can be traced back to low trust… and a leader who has not checked the boxes.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
22

 

In our ongoing monthly Tuning in to Trust & Ethics series on elevating organizational trust and ethics, we asked our Trust Alliance members to weigh in on the following question:

Many believe that the HR function plays an important role in building organizational trust and trustworthiness. Do you agree or disagree and why?

Deb Mills-Scofield helps companies create dynamic strategic plans to promote a business-wide innovation mindset.

HR builds trust in how they behave every single day - with each other, their peers and all… Click To Tweet

Obviously, how HR deals with employees’ issues, complaints, and concerns conveys corporate culture.  Confidences need to be kept, gossip discouraged (especially by not participating in it), and root causes addressed.  People need to be held accountable. This applies equally, and perhaps even more importantly, to how HR interacts within their own organization and with their peers.  Double standards are common, but to create sustainable trust, they are absolutely unacceptable. Behavior matters.”

Donna Boehme is an international authority in the field of compliance and ethics.

I have always regarded HR as the beating heart of an organization. Click To Tweet

That’s because the mission and mandate of this critical function, as it’s name suggests, is all about a company’s people- and all aspects of the organizational cycle of their people, from hiring and on boarding/ orientation, to compensation, development and promotion; to retirement/ separation/discipline (as appropriate) of employees It’s obvious that organizations can only conduct business through their employees.  Thus, the manner in which the HR department discharges its mission is absolutely critical to the building of organizational trust and an ethical culture.  For this reason, experienced compliance and ethics professionals regard the HR function as a key partner in all aspects of their work.   It’s my observation that how well Compliance and HR work together on the shared goals of strong ethical culture and organizational trust is the critical factor.  Both functions need to work together to promote employees’ sense of “organizational justice” – probably the most important endeavor of their partnership.

Bob Whipple is a consultant who helps leaders build and maintain trust:

Without question the HR function has a lot to do with whether the culture will be one of high trust, but I think it works in a strange way. I think it is necessary but not sufficient.

If HR is not working with candor and transparency, then a culture of doubt will kindle that is hard… Click To Tweet  

But if HR shows the highest integrity and trustworthy behaviors, it will not be sufficient to create a high trust culture throughout the organization. Reason: I believe trust starts at the top of the organization and cascades throughout the various levels.  The most significant factor influencing a culture of trust is the behaviors of the most senior leader.  A problem leader at any level in the organization can thwart the culture, but a really great leader at the top will root out the problem and eliminate it.  If there is ethical dry rot at any level, the trust will be snuffed out like a candle hit with a bucket of water.

And finally Holly Latty-Mann, a clinical psychologist offers the following advice on HR’s role in building a trustworthy organization:

1) When HR questions management’s decisions that negatively impact the rights of the workforce, they serve equally both management and staff, garnering trust.

2) When HR represents without bias expressed concerns of workforce members to management, trust deepens on all levels.

3) HR is transparent without bias regarding actions staff can take when systems aren’t currently in place to honor legitimate needs, and

4) HR doesn’t play favorites by making themselves the gatekeepers as to who gets what. Click To Tweet

Trust building plays a vital role in the value system and subsequent long-term sustainability of any organization. It must not only be built into the cultural DNA, but must also be practiced and reinforced daily.

Hiring for trust, with the support of upper management should be just as important, if not more… Click To Tweet

The most progressive HR leaders will promote a culture of trust and assist in elevating it throughout the organization.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

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Dec
21

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Trust is at the heart of all successful relationships, both personal and professional. While business leaders often view it as a “soft skill” in reality, trust is the key driver of profitability and long-term success. Drawing on the insights of twelve high integrity leaders and thinkers, and in our never-ending quest to elevate trust in business, Trust Across America offers these insights to the most important question for 2017:

 

What do you believe is the most important action a business leader can take to build trust with his/her stakeholders?

 

Stephen M.R. Covey, one of America’s most well known thought leaders on trust urges leaders to…

Lead out in extending trust. @StephenMRCovey In building trust with ALL stakeholders, lead out in extending trust. Click To Tweet

Why?  Because extending trust generates a reciprocity of trust.  When we give it, people receive it—and then they return it.  When we withhold it, they withhold it.  

 

Marshall Goldsmith a top American leadership coach seconds Stephen’s advice…

Lead by example. @CoachGoldsmith In building trust with ALL stakeholders, lead by example. Click To Tweet

What we do speaks far more loudly than what we say.

 

Bob Vanourek of Triple Crown Leadership and a former CEO of five companies, urges leaders to…

Put trust on the agenda. @BobVanourek In building trust with ALL stakeholders, put trust on the agenda. Click To Tweet

By constantly putting trust questions on the agenda, like “Are we building trust with what we are doing here?” everyone will begin to understand and take action on building trust.

 

David Reiling, Sunrise Bank’s CEO suggest that leaders…

Walk the talk. @ReilingDavid In building trust with ALL stakeholders, walk the talk. Click To Tweet

Day-in and day-out, night-in and night-out, weekends and holidays. Being authentic and living with integrity builds trust in business and everywhere else. 

 

 Linda Fisher Thornton who runs Leading in Context and is on a mission to unleash the positive power of ethical leadership urges leaders to…

Show genuine interest. @leadingincontxt In building trust with ALL stakeholders, show genuine interest. Click To Tweet

Initiate conversations and find ways to add value. Think about the impact of every decision on every stakeholder, and act in their best interests as well as your own. 

 

Tim Erblich, CEO of Ethisphere believes the most important action a leader can take to build trust is to…

Measure the culture @TimErblich In building trust with ALL stakeholders, measure the culture. Click To Tweet

of his/her business, and openly share the findings with employees, stakeholders and more.  

 

Dave Ulrich, a professor at the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) and co-founder of the RBL Group, found it hard to pick one thing so we picked it for him!

Be transparent. @Dave_Ulrich  In building trust with ALL stakeholders, be transparent. Click To Tweet

Avoid leadership hypocrisy…do what you say. Share personal feelings.

 

Evan Harvey who directs Corporate Responsibility at NASDAQ seconded the theme of transparency with his answer…

Act transparently. @EvanHarvey99 In building trust will ALL stakeholders, act transparently. Click To Tweet

Tell your stakeholders what you are trying to accomplish and why; then demonstrate progress towards a goal. That involves others in the process, widens the circle of influence and interaction, and builds lasting trust.

 

Jim Lukaszewski, an author, speaker and crisis management consultant urges leaders to…

Be candid. @JimLukaszewski In building trust with ALL stakeholders, be candid. Click To Tweet

Find the truth, tell that truth, act on it promptly in an environment where values matter at least as much as profits and gain. Candor: truth with an attitude told right now is the basic building block of Trust.

 

Doug Conant, former CEO Campbell Soup who heads Conant Leadership, believes the most important action a business leader can take to build trust is…

Do what you say you are going to do. @DougConant In building trust with ALL stakeholders, do what you say you are going to do. Click To Tweet

And do it well. How can people trust a leader who says one thing but does another? They can’t and won’t.”

 

Jason Lunday Principal Consultant Integrity Factor quotes another one of my favorite trust thought leaders, Frank Navran “Trust is the result of promises fulfilled.”

Keep your promises. @Jason_Lunday In building trust with ALL stakeholders, keep your promises. Click To Tweet

Establish full-cycle mechanisms to ensure that the organizations’ promises will be met, including communicating success.

 

And as the 12th recommendation Barbara Kimmel (that’s me) offers leaders the following:

The leader sets the tone for the organization. @BarbaraKimmel In building trust with ALL stakeholders, the leader sets the tone for the organization. Click To Tweet

Building stakeholder trust first begins with leadership recognition that trust is critical to long-term organizational success. This means making trust a leading business focus in both the Board & C-Suite, reinforcing the trust imperative, and always leading by example.

 

Thank you to all our contributors.  May 2017 bring increasing stakeholder trust to your organization!

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its seventh year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 2,000 U.S. public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara is also the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a New Jersey registered investment advisor.

Copyright (c)  2016, Next Decade, Inc.

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